EDINBURGH FESTIVAL PREVIEW
Criticised by The Samaritans for her hanging woman sculpture, KIKI SMITH's work captures the fragility of life.
Words: Susannah Beaumont
feftivali " Art
THE HEAD LOLLS, the legs dangle. Life has vacated a body and left it redundant and limp Kiki Smith’s Untitled (Hanging Woman) IS a suspended SCUlpture of papier mache, fabric and string, yet it radiates the reality of death by smcrde.
Smith’s work has for some time gently investigated the fragility of life, both human and animal. In 1997 she made 99 glass eggs which she painted to mimic birds' eggs. Arranged on the gallery floor, the work powerfully expressed the delicacy of the protective shell. Life can so easily be stamped out.
It would be easy to describe Smith —- born in 1954 and today liVing in New York, as someone fond of exploring the morbid or downright shocking. Such a description IS, however, far too easy, if not inappropriate. Smith’s work is rooted in empathy; her works make commentary on both the stuff of life and death.
In this solo exhibition at the Fruitmarket Gallery, her first maior show in Scotland, Smith shows new work. Since coming to International prominence in the 19805, she has shown increasingly in Europe, where her work has long been seen as pertinent to late 20th century concerns. Perhaps in reaction to the cool externals of standard painted nudes and emotionally
on the exterior, bodily functions were Isolated,
Up in the air: Kiki Smith's Untitled (Hanging Woman)
everything from sumide and AIDS to fertility treatment
restrained Minimalism, Smith took on the blood and guts of real life. She went internal, her SUbJE’CI matter the womb, the skeleton and the heart. ’In many ways it was about making what IS private public,’ Smith has said of this earlier work. 'The interior became placed
examined and held up as an essential part of life to be celebrated as much as the traditional human form.’
In turn she has often been placed firmly in the feminist, body politic camp. Yet her work is too weighty to be cordoned off. Just as issues surrounding
were being more openly aired in the late 80s, Kiki Smith’s work deals in a new vocabulary of the everyday,
Kiki Smith, Fruitmarket Gallery, Sat 31 Jul-Sat 11 Sep.
and spliced images of adults mirror the obsession of body modification
National Gallery of Modern Art, until Sun 12 Sep. £2.50 (£1.50).
Perhaps the ultimate at tioi: nian artist, Joseph Beuys' mission was to i'iiake 'social stulpture'. in his tiaden'tark pork pie hat, he (arised a stir With his 'attion- happenings' in the 60s and his penchant for yvoiking with commonplatt-x objects Thirteen years on from his death in 1986, this is the first British show of Beuys' Editions
Agnes Martin 8: John McLaughlin
Inverleith House, Royal Botanic Garden, Sat 14 Aug-Sun 31 Oct.
Reaching pioniiiiente ll‘i 1950s New
Art to be seen this Festival
Portfolio Gallery, Tue 10 Aug—Sat 4 Sep.
Joiin Stezaker uses portraits o‘ (n ld it'ooels and turns one-time l) ( tures of bre~nubes(eiit prettness into a vision of t."se€tii".i1deformity lio' more than E‘s-.enty years, ti‘e Brit1s'li—boin Stezaker has .r‘teii‘ogated issues of body i()l."i‘.
and beauty In an age where the "body
ar‘hnxorld's most revered artists Now in I"(‘.' 80s and Il\/|l‘.(l in New l‘vlexu 0, her siibtie geonietiii .ibstiatt ixvoils an- often seen as spiritual explorations whit h tease away notions of Il(‘:1'l“().':\/
I)("t!tlEiILli' (an be artif'i ialiy at IHC‘.’(‘(1 through a (tit o‘ a i we and an iitf of six one, Sttw‘akem i.orniipite'generated
24 THE “ST 221.:
‘5 AM] 1999
York, Agnes i'vlaitin is today one oi the
and spare Alongside work by l‘~.lartiii is
a retrospective of John McLaughlin, who also found fame as a champion golfer and \‘JOFK‘OCI in the (lassic tradition of American abstraction
The Dean Gallery, Wed 11 Aug-Sun 17 Oct, £2.50 (£1.50).
Artist of the n‘toment is the london- based Gary Hume, who is representing
Gary Hume's Doves and Eyes (Pink), 1999
Britain at this year's Venice Biennale Knoixvn for his high-gloss portraits of household idols Kate Moss and Patsy KenSit, Hume took part in the now legendary Freeze show, organised by Damien Hiist bark in 1988 and has ,s'inre betome a key i‘iienibei of the so- called Brit Pack of artists In. this solo exhib:ti0n ()I new work, he moves away from media itons to more abstract imagery
Nina Saunders, Emily Bates & Nicky
Stills Gallery, Thu 5 Aug—Sat 25 Sep. A sense of innotente gives way to lingering iiienare iii the work of international artists Saunders, Bates and lloberniai‘i Hoberiiiari‘s I)Il()i()(jl(ll)Ill( works shoe; voting girls aziith distorted bodies, a bikin. crafted by Rates from human hair teases at notions of desire and ieiiulsiiiii, and Saiiiiders' oil painting of sitting l()(‘illl floral wallpaper '.':I!£(I‘ appears to ‘diip' iotild be a bar 'vtdioti to a suburban horror fiiiii